* His role: Mussina is the ace of the staff, drawing the Opening Day assignment, and, somewhat by coincidence, he'll pitch the first game of the year in Camden Yards.

* What '95 means to him: Could mean a lot if his negotiations this spring with the Orioles for a long-term deal fall through. Mussina will have more than four years of service, and depending on what rules are negotiated in the next labor agreement, he could be eligible for some form of free agency.

* X-factor: Scouts always have wondered about Mussina's size and long-term durability, but he just keeps rolling along. He's averaged better than seven innings per start during his career.

* Statistically speaking: Though there are questions about his stamina, consider these Mussina numbers: In the first six innings last year, opponents batted .255 against him. From the seventh inning on, however, they hit .220, with a pitiful .254 on-base percentage.

* Age: 26. * Height: 6-2. * Weight: 185. * Bats: Right. * Throws: Right.

* His role: McDonald has developed into a solid starter, the Orioles' No. 2 behind Mike Mussina. Last year, he started and finished well. His ERA in April was 2.65, in June 7.45 and in August 0.55.

* What '95 means to him: McDonald, up and down through much of his career, really seemed be making a move to stardom last year. This could be a breakthrough season for him if he stays healthy.

* X-factor: The shortened spring training will be remembered if McDonald has physical problems this year. McDonald had a stiff elbow in his first week in camp, although he seems to have recovered.

* Statistically speaking: McDonald begins to labor after 90 pitches. In his first inning of work last year, opponents batted .179; on pitches 91-105, opponents hit .328.

* Age: 27. * Height: 6-7. * Weight: 214. * Bats: Right. * Throws: Right.

* His role: Depends on Armando Benitez, who has struggled this spring. If Benitez rebounds, he'll likely be the right-handed setup man, but if Benitez continues to have trouble, then Mills will be the setup man.

* What '95 means to him: Needs a big season to get the big payoff, because he could be eligible for free agency, depending on the terms of the next labor agreement. Mills is coming off a poor 1994 season.

* X-factor: Mills said his Fu Manchu makes him look more fearsome to hitters. Phil Regan has a policy against audacious facial hair -- nothing but conservative mustaches. Maybe an accord can be reached, maybe not.

* Statistically speaking: Mills has great stuff; it's just a matter of his staying ahead in the count. Last year, opposing hitters batted .143 on the first pitch, .192 when they were behind in the count, .191 with two strikes -- and .300 when they were ahead in the count.

* Age: 28. * Height: 6-1. * Weight: 192. * Bats: Both. * Throws: Right.

* His role: Long relief. The acquisition of Kevin Brown bumped Moyer into the bullpen. He also could be used as a spot starter if there's a doubleheader or someone in the rotation gets hurt.

* What '95 means to him: Moyer is one of the game's great survivors, having dropped out of the majors for nearly two years. He's left-handed, and he always seem to surpass expectations, so no matter the role he's given, Moyer will find a way.

* X-factor: There could be a demand elsewhere for a veteran left-hander, and if Armando Benitez struggles, Moyer could be marketed for some right-handed relief help.

* Statistically speaking: Moyer fared much better with the bases empty (.235 opponents average) than with runners on base (.333).

* Age: 32. * Height: 6-0. * Weight: 170. * Bats: Left. * Throws: Left.

* His role: He'll probably be the designated hitter against most left-handers, and may get some time in the outfield, although his poor defense makes him a liability. In many situations from the sixth inning on, Obando, who runs well, could pinch run for Baines and stay in the game as the DH.

* What '95 means to him: He has a chance to establish himself in the big leagues. Regan and his staff really believe Obando could make an important contribution.

* X-factor: His defense. The Orioles started working with him this spring, and if he can be at least mediocre, he could get more

playing time.

* Statistically speaking: Last year at Rochester, Obando had 63 extra-base hits in 109 games and a .603 slugging percentage.

* Age: 25. * Height: 6-4. * Weight: 215. * Bats: Right. * Throws: Right.


Age: 58. Playing position: Pitcher

Personal: Begins his first season as a major-league manager after serving 22 years as a manager, coach and scout. Becomes the fifth Orioles manager in the past 10 years. Last season, in his first year as Indians pitching coach, turned around a staff that had only one 10-game winner in 1993; in 1994, the Indians were the only American League team with four 10-game winners and led the major leagues in complete games (17) and fewest home runs allowed (94). Served as major-league special assignment and advance scout for the Dodgers from 1987 to 1993. Worked with the Mariners as a major-league advance scout in 1983-1984 and as a major-league pitching coach from 1984 to 1986. Managed in the winter leagues the past 10 seasons.


Age: 58. Playing position: Third base

Personal: Entering 23rd year as a manager, coach or scout. Begins first season as the Orioles' third base coach; he also will work with base runners. Spent the past two seasons as third base coach for Kansas City, where he also assisted with infielding and base running.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad